Oudtshoorn is in political crisis. Recently there was the illegal coup by the DA which, ironically, will probably fall into their favour as they only have to win 1 of the 3 vacant seats in the forthcoming by-election. Not that that would necessarily be a bad thing (or a good thing) because the ANC has totally screwed up too.
Why do i mention it on Knysna Keep? Because, as i’ve said before, there’s a war for power on the Garden Route and towns such as ours (and let’s never forget poor Plettenberg Bay) are the battleground. The loser is You, the public.
The latest Oudtshoorn chapter finds the DA members controversially (and highly inappropriately) trying to pass off private legal costs of R4.5million onto the taxpayer. Even silent Helen Zille has responded to this.
There is much more to this story but i’ve too much local on my hands to give it the time it deserves so this statement, by Oudtshoorn’s Mayor, Gordon April, will have to do:
“I have learnt in the media on June 27 that the Greater Oudtshoorn Municipality, of which I am the Executive Mayor, had settled with Nel in the matter Pierre Nel v. Oudtshoorn Municipality, and that each party will pay it’s own costs.
This “settlement” is a fabrication; a farce; a fiction; and a figment of some fraught fantasy.
I instructed my attorney, Mr Hardy Mills, to investigate this outrageous attempt to saddle the ratepayers of the Greater Oudtshoorn with a legal bill amounting to an expected R4.5 million while cost had been awarded to the municipality in the High Court and upheld in the Supreme Court of Appeal.
The matter was raised with the National Leader of the Democratic Alliance, Western Cape Premier Helen Zille, who responded earlier today, subject to her own enquiry, as follows:
Re: “Deed of Settlement”
I can now write to you and say formally that:
1) There was no resolution, by any competent authority either in the Oudtshoorn municipality or in the Democratic Alliance, for anyone representing either party to conclude a “Deed of Settlement” in respect of the matter PA Nel vs. Oudtshoorn Municipality. (SCA Case# 247/2012; WCHC# 18083/2010.)
2) I note there is no Constitutional Court Case number on the document and would wish to know why this is so.
3) The so-called “Deed of Settlement” is of no force and effect. It is not justified or condoned in any way by the Democratic Alliance.
4) The DA would NOT allow a private legal Bill to be passed on to ratepayers.
5) We are undertaking the necessary steps internally to gather all the facts pertaining to this matter, after which we will determine appropriate steps.
6) We regard this matter in a very serious light.
It is abundantly clear that some political machination is afoot.
Attorney Nic Barrow, for Alderman Pierre Nel (DA); and Councillor Ben van Wyk (DA); together with Nel, signed the “Deed of Settlement” to conclude what can only be deemed as attempted theft of ratepayer money.
The specious “Deed of Settlement” was drafted to resemble an official Constitutional Court of South Africa writ and quoted an abjectly false “Resolution 14/6/13” as authorization for the said settlement.
It appears that the 11 DA Councillors, and the Cope Councillor, conspired to conjure the forceless settlement in an attempt to avoid payment of the legal costs by either Nel, or the Democratic Alliance, and burden the ratepayers of Oudtshoorn with the bill instead.
I can hardly express my repugnance at this cold-blooded chicanery.
I have instructed my attorney to proceed criminally against Barrow, Nel, and Van Wyk while I await responses from DA councillors Wessie van der Westhuizen, Raymond Wildschut, Peter Roberts, Julia le Roux, Chris MacPherson, Diane de Jager, Johan Fourie, Felicity Magxaka, Ewa Fortuin, and Pierre Nel; and Cope councillor John Maxim before acting against any one or more of them.”
PS on March 24 2014: The Chief Financial Officer of Oudtshoorn Municipality estimated that total costs against Nel (and Barow) were in the region of R4million. It was a number widely circulated but to date hasn’t been substantiated. The DA has contested this figure, estimating R700 000. Either way, it’s a burden that the taxpayer should never have to carry. And lawyer costs, paid by the client (i.e. the taxpayer) will greatly increase the amount.